Koch on Film
By Ed Koch
“Winter’s Bone” (+)
While this film is well worth seeing, it is not a home run.
The setting is the Missouri Ozarks. While the accents made it difficult for me to understand everything that was said, the drama taking place was very clear.
Seventeen-year-old Ree (Jennifer Lawrence) lives with her family — including her sick mother who is unable to speak, and her younger brother and sister. Her father has disappeared after having been arrested for making the illegal drug, methamphetamine (meth laboratories apparently replaced the making of moonshine). Ree is told by the sheriff that if her father does not appear in court the following week, her family will be evicted from their home — which her father had posted as bail. She promises to bring her father in.
In search of her father, Ree goes to see her relatives, the type of people who would have been denigrated in the past by being referred to as “hillbillies.” We’re taken on a tour of their lifestyle, and it is not pretty — nor is it safe for Ree, who is beaten up for pursuing her father’s whereabouts. We learn that he is persona non grata among his kin, because he endangered the lives of others involved in the manufacturing of meth when he spilled his guts to the sheriff.
Ree’s uncle, Teardrop (John Hawkes), who appears to be a very dangerous man and perhaps even crazy, saves Ree’s life. A scene involving Teardrop stopped by the sheriff on the road, each with a gun, is spine-chilling.
My eyes never left the screen throughout the entire movie. Jennifer Lawrence and John Hawkes are both excellent in their roles. The film is a gem. If subtitles had been provided so as to better understand the dialogue, it would have been a brilliant diamond.
1 hour, 40 minutes; Rated R; Drama. Screening at, among other places, the Angelika Film Center (18 West Houston St.). Call 212-995-2000.
“Get Him to the Greek” (-)
Whether or not you decide to see this movie will depend on how you feel about and define soft porn, and if you occasionally like to see such a film. I would describe this picture as such, even though it is rated R. The movie contains no explicit sex scenes, but it does include the use of dildos by fully clad people and dialogue that is often coarse, vulgar and obscene.
The plot is described by the movie’s title. Aaron (Jonah Hill) works for a music company headed by Sergio (Sean Combs). Sergio directs Aaron to go to London, pick up the rock star, Aldous (Russell Brand), and take him to the Greek, a theater in Los Angeles where he is to perform a live concert. Getting there involves buying various drugs for Aldous available on the street and dealing with his reaction to those drugs. Russell Brand is superb in his role, and Sean Combs is terrific as well.
Although the dialogue provided a belly laugh or two, I didn’t find the overall humor good enough to overcome its coarseness and allow me to recommend the film to you. I saw it on a Sunday afternoon at the AMC Lowes Theater on 19th Street and Broadway and was surprised that it was less than half full. Maybe those heretofore seeking this kind of movie are growing up.
Rated R; 1 hour, 49 minutes.